Women’s soccer (4-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC) scored three goals in the final five minutes of Saturday’s conference game against Bowdoin, ending the match with a 4-0 shutout.
The first half started slowly, with a back-and-forth struggle between the Ephs and the Polar Bears. As halftime drew near, Williams steadily picked up its intensity, pounding the Bowdoin keeper with shots and offensive pressure. After a series of narrow misses, Sachi Siegelman ’12 drove one in, setting Williams ahead 1-0 at the break.
The second half was a similarly aggressive battle, with the two teams amassing a combined 18 fouls over the course of the game. The tide turned when Sara Wild ’11 scored in the 85th minute, shattering the thin iceberg of hope that was keeping the Polar Bears afloat. From there, Wild and Annelise Snyder ’11 tore apart the Bowdoin defense, with Snyder scoring off an assist from Wild in the 89th minute. Snyder returned the favor by setting up Wild for a goal just 34 seconds later, creating a 4-0 blowout.
“Bowdoin was very organized defensively,” said co-captain Clare Gallagher ’09 of Saturday’s match. “But the team responded really well when things were not going our way. After a tough battle we were finally able to break down their defense and capitalize on our chances.”
Williams’ strong play through the final minutes put the Ephs on top. “The difference in the first and second half was that we kept going at them and they finally fatigued,” said Head Coach Michelyne Pinard. “Our depth is such a strength for us; the fact that we send one great player in the game after another wears down the other team. The last 10 minutes, [Bowdoin] tried to play with four forwards and left our midfielders with lots of space, We were able to take advantage of that. Sara Wild specifically took advantage of that – scoring two great goals.”
In contrast to the Bowdoin matchup, Williams scored early in last Wednesday’s game against Springfield. Brianna Wolfson ’10 netted a goal in the 12th minute of play, giving Williams a 1-0 lead through halftime.
Just five minutes into the second half, Gabrielle Woodson ’09 put the ball in the net, establishing the match’s final score of 2-0. Goalkeepers Lauren Sinnenberg ’10 and Julia Schreiber ’11 split time in the goal, but received little action, with Sinnenberg making the Ephs’ only save of the game. Overall, Williams took a total of 15 shots to Springfield’s five. This is not to say that the match lacked intensity; the teams racked up a total of 25 fouls.
“Springfield was a tough battle both mentally and physically for us,” said Gallagher. “The win on the road definitely gave us momentum going into this weekend.”
Regardless of the challenges the Ephs face, the depth and talent of the team is best expressed by the fact that an entirely different set of players scored in the Bowdoin game than scored against Springfield. The flexibility of having substitutes that can perform just as well as the starters is a key to Williams’ early success.
“We are entering a game-filled part of our schedule,” Pinard said. “Playing this many games can be tough, but because we are so deep, I believe it takes less of a toll on us physically than it would most teams.”
Yesterday, Williams played Western Connecticut, two-year champions of the Little East Conference, but results were not in time. The women travel to Conn. College this Saturday.
“This is going to be a challenging week on the road,” said Gallagher. “We are still not playing our best soccer yet, but we are getting better everyday. The upcoming games should be very exciting.”